Easing Domestic Travel During COVID-19
It’s no secret that the travel industry has been hit the hardest during the pandemic. Airlines and hotels are facing massive problems to survive post COVID-19. However, governments worldwide have slowly chosen to ease domestic travel restrictions to help the industry.
Following the government’s ease on domestic travel restrictions, locals were seen flocking to scenic spots and beaches over the weekend. Ha Long Bay was among the most popular spots. Hundreds waited to get on tourist boats to visit the famed karsts of the UNESCO heritage site. While doors remain closed to foreign travellers, authorities are turning to the domestic market of millions wearied by long weeks of self-isolation and travel bans to get the tourist economy moving again.
Initially, cross-border travel will be permitted with neighbouring countries that have declining cases of the virus. Borders are due to open with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary on 15 June. As for airports, ones in Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg are operational but with limited services until May 31 at the earliest. Restaurants and bars are open, and hotels from May 29.
Airports and seaports will gradually begin resuming operations between June 9 and July 13 at the earliest. Similarly, hotels, open-air cinemas, theatres and shopping malls are set to reopen, although policy on tourist arrivals is yet to be released. Beaches with amenities and museums will reopen from June 1. Meanwhile parks and squares are to reopen from May 21, with strict social distancing rules.
Airlines and domestic travel
According to CNN, AirAsia is among one of the airlines ramping up its flight scheduling. They restarted domestic flights in Malaysia on April 29 and their affiliates have added Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Philippines to their roster from May.
Meanwhile, Qantas has resumed some domestic flights between major cities in Australia, “Melbourne to Sydney is the second busiest [air] route in the world,” a Qantas spokesman explained “Normally we do five flights an hour, and now we’re doing seven per week.”
So what does this mean for the travel industry? While the fight against coronavirus is far from over, the signs are there that the industry is slowly recovering, but it still remains far off from its past glory days.
Source: AFP Relaxnews, CNN, The Guardian